COVID vaccine in Ballarat: Target miss felt in city | The Courier


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THIS was to be the milestone for four million Australians to be vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus but instead many in Ballarat are waiting for phase 1b efforts to accelerate. About 670,000 Australians have been given their first of two jabs, either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines, against COVID-19. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton assured on Wednesday that jab efforts in regional areas were on track. Ballarat Community Health and Ballarat Medical Clinic, each featuring in initial general practitioners jab lists, have made clear they would wait until after Easter before administering COVID vaccinations. Ballarat Group Practice is taking online bookings. In its first week of operation, the UFS-led Ballarat Respiratory Clinic has been averaging 130 vaccinations each day. Capacity in the Commonwealth-funded clinic is set to increase to 150 per day next week. Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative was preparing to launch vaccinations this week. Ballarat federal MP and former opposition health spokesperson Catherine King said it was extraordinary the Morrison Government had missed its vaccination target by about three and a half million vaccines. Ms King said the outbreak in Queensland highlighted the lockdown risk reality for the longer the nation was left waiting for vaccines. And it was a concern close to home. “In Ballarat we’ve heard stories of incorrect advice being provided to GP clinics, deliveries being missed, IT failings and needle shortages,” Ms King said. “None of this is good enough, the Morrison Government needs to get to work and get the vaccine rollout on track as fast as they can.” READ MORE Mr Hunt and Mr Coulton in a joint statement reiterated the number of GP clinics were set to increase four-fold in the coming week with more Commonwealth-funded clinics and Aboriginal; community controlled health services involved in the roll-out within a fortnight. New South Wales and Queensland state governments have made clear they want to speed up the process with some senior ministers questioning supply levels. UFS chief executive Lynne McLennan said the vaccine process was going smoothly since opening the Drummond Street clinic. Testing numbers at the UFS-led centre in Errard Street North had also risen due to an influx of returned travellers from Queensland hotspots. Ms McLennan warned the virus was still present and it was vital to keep following hygiene guidelines: practice social distancing, wear masks in medical appointments and on public transport and prevent handshaking. If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city. Our team of local journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the Ballarat community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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